Stocks crept higher ahead the afternoon release of Federal Reserve minutes, an insight into the central bank's thinking before its next meeting in June. Markets already have high expectations for an interest rate increase in June. Existing home sales declined in April as tight supply continued to choke demand. Sales of previously-owned homes had reached ten-year highs a month earlier. Inventory dropped 9%. A weekly inventory reading from the EIA showed a larger-than-expected decline. Crude inventories have declined for seven weeks in a row. Gasoline and distillates stockpiles also declined. Lowe's (LOW) - Get Lowe's Companies, Inc. Report fell short of earnings and revenue estimates. Weakness at the home-improvement chain comes as a surprise after rival Home Depot (HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. Report reported a solid quarter.